“What do social science graduates do?” was compiled by the Campaign for Social Science and draws on the latest information available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, for graduates completing full or part-time degrees in 2008-9.
Three and a half years on, the researchers found 84 per cent of the social science graduates surveyed in employment, compared with 78 per cent for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and 79 per cent for the arts and humanities.
As well as being more likely to be in work, social science graduates also seem to be getting a larger proportion of the top jobs. While 7.6 per cent of them were in positions classified as “managers and senior officials”, the equivalent figures for STEM graduates and arts and humanities graduates were 3.6 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively.
Something similar applies for those keen to work in finance and insurance. While 7.1 per cent of social science graduates find work in these sectors, only 3.7 per cent of STEM and 3.9 per cent of arts and humanities graduates manage to do so.
The Campaign for Social Science is supported by 78 institutions, including universities, learned societies, publishers and a charitable trust. The report’s results, argued campaign chair James Wilsdon, indicate that “employers in the public and private sectors are queuing up to hire social science graduates. They have the skills of analysis, interpretation and communication that our economy and society needs.”
From a national perspective, said Professor Wilsdon, “it’s vital that we maintain this capacity. Teaching and training the next generation of social scientists is an investment that will repay itself many times over.”
The report was launched at Department for Business Innovation and Skills Conference Centre in London on 28 October at an event where universities and science minister, David Willetts, also delivered a lecture titled “Where next for social science? The agenda beyond 2015”.